8. The “softwarisation of knowledge
Executable knowledge is both something that can be put into action by a person (hence the requirement to be understandable and applicable to the present situation) as well as something that can be executed by a machine. i.e. a piece of software.
There is a significant trend in the software production area that goes under the name of low code-no code. Basically, as the name suggests, it is becoming possible to move from the description of the solution to a problem to the development of that solution in software with very limited programming required (ideally with no programming at all). Clearly, software still needs to be created, assembled and integrated into a working system but the assumption is that there will be “out there” a growing amount of software snippets that like Lego bricks can be assembled (with very limited programming capabilities) into a working system.
I am making reference to Lego bricks because the first example I saw of this low code – no code was at the MIT in the Lego Lab. The MIT was asked by Lego to develop a new generation of “bricks” that could engage an audience that has become more demanding (kids got used to Nintendo and started to favour them over Lego): the result was LegoRobotics. Kids could develop a variety of robots, using Lego bricks and make them perform a variety of tasks (program them) with a graphic language, that was created in shape of 2 dimensional bricks. Each brick was a piece of software that when assembled with other bricks resulted in a system operating the robot. It turned out that LegoRobotics created a new audience, grown up kids like myself, pretending to teach their sons and having fun at the same time.
This approach is now being used for industrial applications and it will soon permeate many business and production environment. As software becomes pervasive there is the need to enable people that have very limited, or none, skill in software development to use it.
My bet is that many researchers, in academia and industry, will develop their “knowledge”, i.e. the result of their endeavour, in form of software snippets that could be combined and assembled in many ways to create a functioning system. This executable knowledge chunks will transform the knowledge market by providing a much higher value to users.